COVID-19 has changed the experience, but Shocktoberfest is still packing all the screams that earned it a top-10 haunted park ranking nationally.
COVID-19 has changed the experience, but Shocktoberfest is still packing all the screams that earned it a top-10 haunted park ranking nationally.
A few hours after a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a $908 billion coronavirus relief bill proposal Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) circulated his own plan among Republican lawmakers. Several news organizations obtained a copy of the outline.McConnell's plan, Bloomberg notes, appears to be a tweaked version of his previous $500 billion proposal (although the full price tag is not yet known), with funds earmarked for a second round of the Payroll Protection Program and coronavirus vaccine distribution and development. It doesn't seem likely to serve as an overture to Democrats and instead caters to several Republican senators by including measures like COVID-19 liability shields for businesses, which the other side of the aisle opposes.> McConnell's "revised" bill includes lots of goodies for his members:> > \- Toomey proposal ensuring Fed can't use unspent CARES money > \- school choice tax credits for Cruz > \- Tim Scott's tax deduction for biz meals > \- Cornyn's liability shield bill > \- $20B in additional aid to farmers> > -- Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) December 1, 2020Unlike the bipartisan framework from earlier in the day, McConnell's bill does not include any money for state, local, and tribal governments, another nod toward Republicans who remain staunchly opposed to the notion. It does extend the deadline for enhanced unemployment benefits, but only by a month, whereas the other bill proposal would push end date to April.McConnell said he was bearish on his colleagues' framework because the clock is ticking, and he seems to believe the White House will sign off on his version. > I asked @senatemajldr McConnell why not push for the bipartisan, presumably more popular, COVID Relief framework. His response: pic.twitter.com/iekHQkkues> > -- Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) December 1, 2020More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised Monday that justice will be done in the case of a French restaurant owner who was found murdered over the the weekend. López Obrador compared the case to last year’s killings of nine U.S. dual-nationals in northern Mexico, claiming “practically all” of whose alleged killers in that attack have been arrested. Authorities said evidence indicates dual French-Mexican citizen Baptiste Jacques Daniel Lormand set out late last week to sell bottles of high-end wine or liquor, accompanied by a Mexican partner.
An international coalition of more than 150 parliamentarians has urged Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, to guarantee a fair legal process for 12 young people who were detained in China in August after allegedly trying to flee the former British colony to reach Taiwan by sea. The open letter issued on Tuesday by 155 politicians from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Myanmar and multiple European nations adds weight to a global campaign that has sprung up since the so-called “Hong Kong 12” were intercepted by the Chinese coastguard and jailed in the mainland city of Shenzhen. They were facing accusations of illegally crossing the border between Hong Kong and China. The group had tried to escape Hong Kong by speedboat, fearing political persecution amid an ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists and the introduction in June of a draconian national security law. The law punishes broadly defined crimes such as “secession” with up to life in prison. Beijing imposed the law to curb year-long anti-government protests. Hong Kong's Security Bureau has said all 12 were suspected of committing crimes including manufacturing or possessing explosives, arson and rioting in Hong Kong. The group consists of unnamed individuals aged 16 to 33. Signatories to the letter, who include Tom Tugendhat, the Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, and fellow MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Damian Green, Hilary Benn and John McDonnell, have appealed to Ms Lam to intervene to bring the group back to Hong Kong to face trial in local courts.
China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a U.S. analyst said on Tuesday, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources. Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said the Kims and several senior North Korean officials had been vaccinated.
President Trump threatened to veto a $740 billion defense spending bill if it doesn't repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, an unrelated provision that grants broad legal immunity to social media and other internet sites. Unless the "dangerous and unfair Section 230" is "completely terminated," Trump said on Twitter, he will "unequivocally veto" the legislation. Section 230, which shields social media companies from legal liability for user content posted on their sites, is considered a foundational provision of the internet.Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act with bipartisan support for 59 years in a row, and "presidents from both parties have always signed them, even after issuing veto threats," The Wall Street Journal notes. "The Senate version passed 86-14, and the House version passed 295-125, more than the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a potential veto." Negotiators are currently working out the differences so the legislation can be cleared in the next few weeks. Trump has already threatened to veto this same bill over a provision to rename military bases honoring Confederate officers.There is bipartisan support to reform Section 230, though each party objects to different ways it affects social media. Democrats say Facebook, Twitter, and other sites should do more to weed out disinformation and dangerous content, while Trump has complained baselessly that the sites censor conservatives. The NDAA authorizes $740 billion in Pentagon and Energy Department spending, including a 3 percent raise for U.S. troops, and guides Pentagon policy decisions.Besides passing the NDAA, Congress hopes to push through a spending bill to keep the government running and a COVID-19 relief package before adjourning for the year.More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump
Chuck Rosenberg makes no secret of his admiration for Robert Mueller. Keep that in mind, along with the format of Rosenberg's podcast “The Oath,” now that NBC announced Wednesday that the former special counsel who looked into Russian interference in the 2016 election has given an extensive interview that debuts next week. Mueller, the ex-FBI director, rarely speaks publicly and has been virtually silent about his special counsel experience since testifying before Congress in July 2019.
More than 150 parliamentarians from 18 countries have called on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to intervene to ensure justice for 12 people, the youngest of who is 16, who have been detained in mainland China while trying to flee the city by boat. The 12, who had all faced charges in Hong Kong linked to anti-government protests, have been held virtually incommunicado in a mainland prison since they were detained at sea on Aug. 23, apparently while trying to reach the democratic island of Taiwan. Chinese authorities said last week members of the group face charges of illegal border crossing and organising an illicit border crossing, which could carry a sentence of up to seven years in jail.
Control of the United States Senate hinges on two January 5 runoff elections in Georgia, where incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are facing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock respectively. Most immediately, the race is a contest over whether President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will be able to govern — especially by passing another big coronavirus rescue package.However, Loeffler and Perdue are also excellent examples of what interests the Republican Party serves — namely, the ultra-rich, which includes both Loeffler and Perdue personally. These are two people who were rich before they got into politics, and leveraged their power as senators to make themselves even more rich — by profiteering off the pandemic. It is government of, by, and for the top 0.1 percent.Let me consider their cases in turn. David Perdue is a longtime businessman who served as CEO of Dollar General in the mid-2000s, where he worked diligently to source more products from China. According to his financial disclosures, he is worth between $15 million and $43 million.As Michela Tindera writes at Forbes, Kelly Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher own a big stake in International Exchange, a financial clearinghouse company that Sprecher founded and where he remains CEO and chairman. (That company also owns the New York Stock Exchange, where Sprecher is again chairman.) After closely examining Loeffler's financial disclosure forms and other information, Tindera estimates that the couple is worth at least $800 million, and likely over $1 billion — or roughly quadruple the wealth of the second-richest member of Congress, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah).Here's how the pandemic profiteering worked. On January 24, there was a private all-Senate briefing about the looming disaster — long before there was a broad public understanding that the U.S. was going to get slammed by COVID-19. Immediately afterward, both Loeffler and Perdue started trading strategic stocks. As The Daily Beast reported at the time, Loeffler executed 29 transactions valued between $1.275 and $3.1 million in the following days before the market crashed, almost all of them sales — one exception was a purchase of Citrix, which sells teleworking software. (Also, Loeffler recently violated the legal prohibition on soliciting campaign funds in a Senate office building.)Perdue made a similar number of trades, but bought more than Loeffler — in particular, an investment of up to $850,000 in DuPont, which manufactures personal protective equipment. And as The Associated Press reports, in late January he sold between $1 million and $5 million in shares of Cardlytics, a financial technology firm, at $86 per share. Then, when the market had bottomed out in March, he snapped up between $200,000 and $500,000 of Cardlytics shares at $30 apiece; since then the share price has shot back up to $121. Nice tidy little profit to counterbalance the 270,000 dead Americans. (The Daily Beast also reports that in 2019, Perdue bought up shares of a submarine parts manufacturer before voting to give the company a lucrative contract, then sold it for another handsome profit.)When reports of these trades first came out, both Loeffler and Perdue insisted they had nothing to do personally with the moves. "I have never used any confidential information I received while performing my Senate duties as a means of making a private profit ... professionals buy and sell stocks on our behalf," wrote Loeffler in an April 8 Wall Street Journal op-ed. Perdue told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that advisers made his investment decisions on their own.In the first place, candidates not taking direct control of their stock trades does not actually remove the conflict of interest. If you are a senator, and you hire a bunch of asset managers to look after your investments without any kind of blind trust, you still know what those investments are. You can make decisions knowing that your Goldman Sachs lackeys will make the profit-maximizing move in response — which is the best-case scenario of what happened here.But realistically speaking, it is virtually impossible to believe that all these trades had nothing to do with the two senators. Are we really to believe it was a coincidence that these asset managers started making "there is a pandemic coming" trades the very same day the two were receiving classified briefings on the disaster? Come on. Indeed, The New York Times recently reported that Perdue was lying with his blanket denial — he did directly instruct his manager to sell the Cardlytics shares after receiving a cryptic email mentioning "upcoming changes" from the company's then-CEO. (Perdue and Loeffler have been cleared of legal wrongdoing by the Department of Justice, but given that Attorney General Barr is a shameless Trump stooge, that is hardly reassuring.)Since then, both Perdue and Loeffler have largely downplayed the pandemic. Unlike Ossoff and Warnock, both have been holding large, in-person rallies. In July, both Loeffler and Perdue came out against extending the boost to unemployment insurance in the CARES Act, and since then neither have answered questions about further economic rescue measures from Atlanta Magazine. Instead, since the election they have amplified Trump's flagrant lies that Georgia's Republican governor and secretary of state somehow helped Joe Biden steal the election there.Over the last decade or so, there has been a long discussion of why Democrats are bleeding votes in rural areas (precisely where Republicans run up huge margins in Georgia). And on one level it's an important debate — there is good evidence that as Democrats embraced austerity, deregulation, and free trade that harmed such places, it hurt their vote share.But on another level, it is frankly staggering that the Republican Party has swooped in to replace them. The Democrats may not be much of a friend to the working class or rural farmers, but Republicans are straight-up picking their pockets. If you want a couple senators to govern solely on behalf of their massive asset portfolio while leaving everyone else twisting in the wind, vote Perdue and Loeffler.More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday rejected a bill approved by parliament that would have suspended U.N. inspections and boosted uranium enrichment, saying it was “harmful” to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions. The tug-of-war over the bill, which gained momentum after the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last month, reflects the rivalry between Rouhani, a relative moderate, and hard-line lawmakers who dominate parliament and favor a more confrontational approach to the West. The bill would have suspended U.N. inspections and required the government to resume enriching uranium to 20% if European nations fail to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions on the country's oil and banking sectors.
Republicans attempting to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to take up their lawsuit, three days after it was thrown out by the highest court in the battleground state. In the request to the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and the other plaintiffs are asking the court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory. Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016.
Top U.S. health officials announced plans on Tuesday to begin vaccinating Americans against the coronavirus as early as mid-December, as nationwide deaths hit the highest number for a single day in six months. "Within 24 hours, maybe at most 36 to 48 hours, from the approval, the vaccine can be in people's arms," Moncef Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive who is overseeing the vaccine portion of the U.S. program, said at an event conducted by The Washington Post newspaper. A statement from the public health director for Los Angeles County highlighted the ravages of the surging pandemic.
A three-week deputy operation has led to over 50 arrests and more than $300,000 of illicit money being confiscated by the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
On Tuesday Gabriel Sterling of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office spoke forcefully against post-election threats and rhetoric directed at election staff.
A photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban fighter emerged on Tuesday, as the Chinese and Australian governments continued to trade blows over alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan. The photograph of the soldier drinking from an apparent “war trophy” in an unauthorised bar in Afghanistan in 2009 was one of several obtained by Guardian Australia. Another shows two soldiers dancing with the leg. The bar, known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, was set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province. Some soldiers claimed in the Guardian that the practice was widely tolerated by officers at high levels, and even involved some of them. Taking property without the consent of the owner may be classified as pillaging, a war crime which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The revelations came as China hit back at the Australian government, which had criticised a social media post by senior official Zhao Lijian featuring a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The post was a reference to the findings of the Brereton inquiry which implicated Australian forces in the alleged murder of prisoners or civilians in Afghanistan. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra said the Australian Government was attempting to deflect attention from war crimes committed by Australian forces, to stoke the fires of “domestic nationalism”, and to pin the blame for the deteriorating relationship between the countries on China. While the Brereton inquiry largely absolved the Australian military’s top brass of responsibility for the alleged crimes, the report noted that a “warrior culture” had developed in the special forces which contributed to offences, a culture of which senior officers could not have been unaware. Australian historian and lecturer on asymmetrical warfare and counter-insurgency, Dr Philip Chilton, told The Telegraph that Australia’s special forces “are bred to have a warrior culture”, and that it is “problematic” that the report appeared to “exonerate the higher command for responsibility for any of this”. While the Department of Defence has not confirmed the authenticity of the photographs, in June 2018 Fairfax Media reported that Australian troops had been using the prosthetic leg taken from an Afghan man as a drinking vessel. The Department of Defence said in a statement that all credible allegations of wrongdoing will be investigated. “The report has been redacted to remove names and details that could identify individuals against whom the Inquiry has found credible information to support allegations of criminal wrongdoing or other misconduct... Where there is information provided to Defence not addressed as part of the Afghanistan Inquiry [headed by Justice Brereton], these matters will be investigated thoroughly and acted on,” a spokesperson said. “It is critical that all matters are considered carefully, and any actions are undertaken according to the ADF’s longstanding and well-established processes, ensuring the rights of individuals to due process and fair hearing are protected.”
Republicans are already signaling they won't vote to confirm Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden's choice to run the Office of Management and Budget, next year -- and some have even cast doubt on whether she'll receive a committee hearing. One reason for their antipathy is her prolific activity on Twitter, which includes a fair amount of criticism of GOP lawmakers. Indeed, it appears Tanden was expecting this, since she has seemingly deleted a fair number of tweets over the last few weeks.But GOP critics are calling the lawmakers complaining about Tanden's social media presence hypocrites, especially since President Trump and a few of his own appointees haven't shied away from using the platform to ridicule political and personal opponents (and sometimes presumed allies) over his four years in office.> Do republicans feel even the slightest bit sheepish talking about a Biden nominees tweets when they supported a president who governed largely by tweet?> > -- Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 1, 2020In fact, throughout Trump's term, it wasn't uncommon for Republican lawmakers to say they hadn't actually seen the president's posts.> Many Republican senators who always professed to be unfamiliar with Trump tweets are very familiar with Tanden tweets https://t.co/xZPi3mivFU> > -- Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) November 30, 2020But, The Washington Post's Paul Waldman argues, the lawmakers likely aren't all that concerned about Tanden's Twitter use, but are instead using it as part of a strategy to make it more difficult for Biden to assemble the Cabinet he wants. > When you hear Republicans air specific concerns about Biden nominees remember that Obama nominated Merrick Garland because Republicans specifically mentioned him as a Supreme Court nominee they'd support. > > This is their rope-a-dope strategy. Don't fall for it. /1> > -- Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 1, 2020More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump